Columbia Catholic high school one step closer to starting construction

Friday, February 12, 2010 | 7:18 p.m. CST; updated 5:53 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 10, 2011

COLUMBIA — Despite delays due to slow fundraising progress, the Diocese of Jefferson City hopes to open Columbia's first Catholic high school by fall 2011.

Father Augustine Tolton Regional Catholic High School's leadership announced the last phase of the campaign at a reception Thursday. The campaign, "Make it a Reality," has set a goal of $5 million to supplement the $8 million already raised.

“We already have city approval,” said Jan Rutter, director of stewardship for the diocese. “Once that money is raised we can break ground.”

The Thursday event was intended to be a kick-off for volunteers and give an overview of what is to come, Rutter said.

"We want to reach every Catholic practitioner in the community," Rutter said.

A new video advocating for the school, which can now be viewed on the school’s Web site, was also previewed.

If the fundraising campaign accomplishes its goals within its intended time frame, the school will open in fall 2011. Construction will begin as soon as the fundraising campaign reaches its goal, Rutter said, and she hopes to reach that goal by the end of March.

The school has a Web site that allows viewers to see computer-generated plans of what the school will look like from the inside and outside.

The diocese also announced that a search committee will begin looking for a permanent principal for the school. Robert Nolke, a retired Hickman High School principal, is acting as interim administrator.

The permanent principal will oversee school administration and direct construction work.

In addition to soliciting pledges to fulfill the funding requirements, a golf tournament is also being planned to raise money for the school. The tournament is scheduled for May 24 at the Country Club of Missouri, according to the school’s Web site.


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